Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sustainable Communities Bill now law - excellent!!

Great news that the Sustainable Communities Bill has finally become law!! Councils now have a legal duty to set up citizens panels made up from all sections of the community and try to reach agreement with them on community suggestions about improving local quality of life. Central Government then has a legal duty to try to reach agreement with councils on action it will take on locally agreed suggestions. Suggestions for change come from communities and go to central Government instead of the usual other way around. I'd like more radical decentralisation but this movement is certainly in the right direction! The Unlock Democracy organisation are now putting money and staff into getting the new law used at local level (go to their website for guidance, link below).

Its excellent work by Local Works campaigners like Ron Bailey and Stephen Shaw (Local works now based at Unlock Democracy). They were assisted by the very many people who have persistently lobbied Government and their MP (see my previous postings supporting the Bill). The Government and some of its 'loyal' MPs dragged their feet on supporting the Bill, including my MP Kerry McCarthy. Campaigning achieved very large cross-party support however, and with some concessions (reducing the radical nature of the original Bill somewhat) it gained Government support.


  1. Thanks Glenn, but we still have much work to do. You need to lobby your councils to ensure they opt in to the Act's process! Only then can communities use it too. Sample letter is on our website -

    Steve Shaw

  2. Since it's now well over a year since the Act was made can you indicate if anything worthwhile has emerged from it?

  3. Will be doing a new blog post on this Chris...currently working on a draft. Meantime check out the new city council webpage on the Act (plus article in the latest 'Our City' (requesting suggestions by 1 May!!!


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